HC Deb 31 July 1957 vol 574 cc1249-50
25. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Postmaster-General how many telephone subscribers in Scotland have asked for their telephones to be withdrawn since his recent announcement of increased charges.

Mr. Marples

One thousand and twenty-nine. This figure includes withdrawals for all reasons, and represents less than one quarter of one per cent. of all the telephones at present working in Scotland.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can the Postmaster-General tell us if he has made any estimate of the unemployment that may come to Post Office workers if people stop using the telephone? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that while he has been posing as fairy godfather to the Post Office workers some of them may be getting the sack as the result of his policy? Also, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, although we all agree with increasing the standard of life of Post Office workers they are going to suffer as the result of the Government's failure to deal with inflation?

Mr. Marples

The general secretary of the major union concerned with the Post Office is consulted on important questions of redundancy quite in the early stages and long before it occurs. I can assure the House and the hon. Member that redundancy in the Post Office is dealt with in a very humane way indeed.

Mr. Gibson

How many telephone subscribers have cancelled their contracts in the London area?

Mr. Marples

I could not say without notice, but in Scotland, where the people know how to get value for their money, cancellation is relatively less than in England.

36. Mr. Russell

asked the Postmaster-General how the number of telephone subscribers who have given notice to discontinue their telephones since the announcement of increased charges compares with the number before the announcement; and how many of those on the waiting list have cancelled their applications.

Mr. Marples

Between my announcement on 18th July and the 26th July about 20,000 withdrawal notices were received. The previous average, for the same length of time, was 4,500. Two thousand outstanding applications were cancelled between 18th and 26th July, this being 200 more than the previous average.